Cows Hate Video Calls as Much as You Do, Ridiculous Study Finds the Moo Point

If you hate video calls, you’re only human. Or you may be a bovine. So says a new, ridiculous study.

Austrian researchers have concluded that farm animals prefer face-to-face communication. Cows, in particular, are more relaxed after hearing a live human’s voice as opposed to a recorded voice broadcast on a loudspeaker.

How did they know? Body language. Of the 28 heifers studied, researchers could tell which ones were relaxed by their ear positions (low and hanging ears indicate they’re chillin’) and by their necks (cows that are vibing stretch their necks out, as if asking to be groomed). Cows liked hearing human voices no matter what the format, but when the voice was from a human in the flesh, their heart rates were lower than when listening to the recorded version.

“Our study suggests that live talking is more relaxing for our animals than a recording of a human voice,” said Annika Lange, the author of the study and a doctoral student at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna. “Interactions may be less positive when they become artificial.”

Apparently, cows are rather communicative animals. Earlier research has shown that the milk-producers do much more than moo. They have different sounds to express excitement, loneliness, and anticipation of a meal. They also have a special frequency used to call to their calves.

What’s more, they respond to human voices, whether it be in the form of a farmer calling their name or a farmhand directing them to the milking shed. The gentler the voice, the better. Cows do not like to be shouted at.

Why should we care? Because as we learn more about what makes animals happy, the better we can train the people who work with them. Cows that feel comfortable with their handlers tend to produce more milk, for example. Fear, often used by old-school farmers and current presidents, is not an effective method of interaction – with cows or humans.

“Our hope is that stockpersons or farmers will more often interact gently and speak some nice words when they are working with cattle in the future,” Lange said.

So the next time you cross paths with a cow, say a little sweet nothing in their ear. They may not thank you, but you’ll both feel better.

Cover Photo: oxygen (Getty Images)

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